Greencore profits rise despite £6m hit from horsemeat scare

Kasmira Jefford
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SHARES in Greencore leapt more than eight per cent yesterday after the Irish food group reported a robust rise in first half profits despite coming under “severe pressure” in the wake of the horsemeat scandal.

The company, which makes own label sandwiches and chilled convenience food for major supermarkets, said operating profits rose 6.3 per cent to £33.7m in the six months to 29 March on revenues up 0.9 per cent to £572.9m.

Patrick Coveney, chief executive, said the horsemeat scandal had cost the group £5m-£6m of revenue in the first half of the year and dragged UK like-for-like sales down by 1.3 per cent.

The company was caught up in the horsemeat scandal in February when a beef bolognese source it had supplied to Asda tested positive for traces of horse DNA.

However, tests of its other products have all proved negative for horsemeat.

“There is a fair amount to do to rebuild trust but a lot is already being done and we are seeing better labelling and sourcing,” Coveney said. He warned that the economic environment in the UK would remain challenging this year as Britons remain under pressure.